I’m James and I’m the vocalist in a few bands, probably most notably THE DOMESTICS, but also PI$$ER (with guys from DOOM, REVENGE OF THE PSYCHOTRONIC MAN, ANTI-CIMEX, WOLFHOUR, THE SHITTY LIMITS and others – we just put out our debut 7”, ‘Wretched Life’), DIS-TANK and BRING THE DRONES. I also run Kibou Records. This a difficult list to write as it’s not necessarily about three records that you still listen to regularly or think are ‘the best’, but about those which had an effect on you at the time you heard them; these three don’t necessarily represent the bulk of my listening these days (you’re as likely to find me listing to full-throttle Japanese or Swedish hardcore, Jamaican reggae or raw U.S. soul and funk, but I can’t deny the influence they had on me and my ongoing relationship with music. Anyway, here goes…
Circle Jerks – Group Sex
This came out in 1980. I didn’t hear it until around 2005 and it blew me away! The brevity. The fact that you could get whole ‘proper’ song into something like 45 seconds was a bit of a revelation. Of course I’d heard short songs before but somehow this was different; they were somehow more songlike than some of the hardcore and grind bands I’d heard doing short tracks up to that point. Also, in retrospect, this feels like Keith Morris’ real thing. I know it’s kind of cool (apparently) to say that Keith was the best BLACK FLAG vocalist (or even Ron Reyes or Dez Cadena…as long as you don’t say Rollins!), but that doesn’t work for me. Rollins is by far my favourite BLACK FLAG vocalist and Morris doesn’t really sound at home until this record. It kicks things up a gear from where BLACK FLAG were when he jumped/was pushed. Anyway, this lean, economical, approach to songwriting paved the way for THE DOMESTICS. I have said in the past “No Group Sex, no Domestics”, and I stand by that still.
The Fall – This Nation’s Saving Grace
Originally released in 1985 I think. I didn’t hear it until years later. There are a number of FALL albums I could have picked but I go back to this one a lot. I think it’s Mark E. Smith’s singular vision that really struck a chord. He knows what he’s aiming for; there is no compromise, only the ideas and the work that results from them. I also love that there is a huge body of work to work through when you discover THE FALL. I like the work ethic. People say to me that THE DOMESTICS put out a lot of records, but I find it frustrating that we’ve put out what, to me, is a fraction of what we could if we weren’t so time-limited. I could easily write two albums and a few 7”EP’s per year, but it’s the rehearsal time to get them into shape and tighten them up that we lack.
The Clash – The Story of The Clash Vol 1
This might seem like an odd choice, especially as it’s a compilation that came out off the back of one of the band’s least good tunes being used on a jeans advert in the nineties, but this opened up a lot of musical avenues for me as a teen. There are bits of reggae, punk rock, funk, pop and allsorts intertwined within this record (and many CLASH records to be fair), and these guys really understood and had a feel for these different styles. You could tell they loved it, had listened furtively to, for instance, the proper stuff coming out of Jamaica, and really ‘got it’, unlike so many tenth generation ska punk bands now that think a herky jerky upstroke is all that’s required – no fucking groove; total shit most of them. These guys could groove too (Topper Headon was a fucking fantastic drummer).
THE DOMESTICS: www.facebook.com/TheDomestics and www.thedomestics.bandcamp.com
KIBOU RECORDS: www.kibourecords.bigcartel.com and www.kibourecords.bandcamp.com
BRING THE DRONES: https://www.facebook.com/BringTheDrones